Coober Pedy: The Opal Capital of the World

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Coober Pedy is a quiet miner’s town that is famous for the the treasure chest of opal in the ground. Australia has a majority of the world’s supply of opal with their largest percentage still coming from the seventy opal fields in Coober Pedy.

Coober Pedy Sunrise

The Umoona Opal Mine and Museum was quite a highlight because you get to learn all about how opal is formed and mined.

Miner Display Umoona Opal Mine and Museum

The adaptive architecture really stood out to me. In order to withstand the blazing summer heat and cool nights, the homes are constructed underground. I was able to experience sleeping in a “dugout” and it is not what you would expect from a cave-like structure. In fact the “dugout” accommodation made for a very unique living space. Fifty percent of the town to this day still lives below the surface.

Dugout Display Umoona Opal Mine and Museum
Dugout Display Umoona Opal Mine and Museum

The original spaceship in the film Pitch Black is the centerpiece of the town. If you are familiar with the movie it is worth visiting. It works with the natural surroundings making Coober Pedy feel like an alien planet.

Wrecked Spaceship from Pitch Black

Coober Pedy is named after the Aboriginal term “Kupa-piti” which means “boys waterhole”. The name is fitting because it is an oasis in the middle of the red dessert.

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